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Stat of the Day: 25% of Toddlers Have Used a Smartphone

If Reaching Digital Gen-Xers and Millennials Has Been a Struggle, Imagine Planning for the iGen

By Published on . 11

We've come to accept that millennials adopt technology at a faster rate than other generations. And we've come to accept that millennial moms are uber-digital -- not only the mommy-bloggers gathering in San Diego this week for the annual BlogHer conference. What we don't often talk about is how that 's going to shape the generation coming up after the millennials -- the iGen. Technology isn't going to skip this generation, it's being handed down right from mother to child.

The chart above is data provided exclusively to AdAgeStat from an annual survey from Parenting Group, the publisher of Parenting, Babytalk and Parenting.com, and the BlogHer network. The generational breakdown is striking. Across the board, younger moms are passing technology along to their kids at an early age. This might not seem too surprising, given the Gen-Y embrace of technology. But when you consider that many of the youngest Gen-X moms are still having their first kids, whereas many millennials are putting off having kids, the adoption rates of technology start to blur.

Digging deeper into the data we see that the percent of moms who haven't let their children use a smartphone corresponds roughly to the percent of moms who don't have a smartphone themselves. We suspect that moms who haven't let their 2-year-olds use a smartphone likely got a smartphone when their kids were already older than that . Crazy, eh? Looking at stats for more-established technologies would seem to confirm that . The Gen-Xers and Boomer moms -- who are more likely to have older kids -- do show a higher overall rate of having passed the laptop or non-smartphone to their children of all ages.

The sweet spots for majority-usage looks like this: Mobile phone, age 11; smartphones, age 16; laptop/PC, age 4; digital camera, age 5.

Overall, the study found that nearly three-quarters of moms with internet access can't go a day without it. One in four report letting their kids use a mobile phone by age 2. We wonder when the ability to hit the home button, swipe to unlock and find an app will become a recognized developmental milestone -- maybe somewhere between walking and multi-word sentences.

Marketers have struggled with reaching the digital millennials and Gen-Xers since the dawning of the internet. The impact of the millennials -- who have grown up in a digital world rather than graduating into it as Gen-Xers generally did -- has perplexed planners. Imagine now the iGen, who have had an iPhone in hand and computer on their laps since they were old enough to sit up -- and have never had to wait for a picture to develop.

The target just keeps shifting.

You can view the full BlogHer/Parenting mobile moms survey here.

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